Former Arrowhead wrestler and two-time NCAA champion Ben Askren is making the move to MMA and hoping to follow in the footsteps of another successful collegiate wrestler in Brock Lesnar. Askren, known for his unorthodox wrestling style and outlandish personality, will simultaneously train to make the 2010 U.S. freestyle wrestling team while also hitting the ground to redeem himself for his performance at the Beijing Olympics, which included a second-round loss after he predicted bringing home a gold medal.
Askren will wrestle as a welterweight at 170 pounds and MMA experts find his skillset and wrestling style to be a perfect and promising match for this type of fighting. Here’s an excerpt from a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article talking about Askren’s MMA aspirations.
“Ben is the total package you’re looking for in a mixed martial arts fighter,” said Bjorn Rebney, the CEO of Bellator Fighting Championships. “You’re talking about an Olympic pedigree, a national championship pedigree, an elite world-class fighting sports competitor as an amateur.
“He’s got a great look, great personality, tremendous charisma. He was one of the most highly touted and recruited fighters in mixed martial arts as a free agent and fortunately we were able to sign him.”
One of the highlights of Askren’s prep career in Wisconsin was a showdown in the state finals with Baraboo’s Trevor Spencer. It wouldn’t be remembered to the extent it is today if Askren and Spencer didn’t engage in some pretty serious trash talk on an internet message board before they met in the finals. The match pitted 39-1 Askren against 38-0 Spencer and Askren took care of business with a 21-8 victory. Just this week, news broke that Trevor Spencer had passed away. Spencer comes from a long line of very good wrestling brothers. The six of them–Travis, Troy, Trent, Trayton, Trevor and Treanor–accounted for 700 victories between them. Trevor set the school record that stands to this day with 149 victories.
For more information about Trevor Spencer’s passing, click here.